DOTC to transport groups: Nothing to worry if not violating rules

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) stood firm on its order imposing stiffer penalties for transport violators, including colorum buses, despite protest actions by some transport groups.

Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said on Thursday that his office is making its message clear: "If you are not violating traffic rules and regulations, you have nothing to fear."

"We issued the revised fines and penalties to better ensure road discipline and safety for the public. If these groups are not violating traffic rules and safety measures, then what are they protesting about? It is time for them to follow rules like everyone else, and to practice discipline and orderliness on the road," he said.

"Commuters put their safety in the hands of transport operators every day. It is government's obligation to make sure that public utility vehicle (PUV) operators are responsible in delivering their services. That is why we issued the Joint Administrative Order," he added.

Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01 of the DOTC, the Land Transportation Office, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) sets higher fines and penalties for various violations of land transportation rules and regulations, including a P1-million fine for colorum buses. It took effect on Thursday, threatening the operation of illegal or unauthorized PUVs.

"We call on these transport groups to be responsible in serving the public. Apart from obeying traffic rules, they should not abandon their obligation to commuters, many of whom had difficulty in getting rides today. If they continue to violate the conditions of their franchises, then what is the point of having them?" Abaya said.

A petition seeking to stop the implementation of JAO 2014-01 had been lodged at the Supreme Court by the same transport groups, but the high court refrained from issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) earlier this week. This failure to block the issuance from taking effect prompted the protesters to resort to the caravan, leaving thousands of commuters stranded. (SDR/Sunnex)

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